Three sets of clothes, a sleeping bag, a tent, a laptop, a smartphone, and a camera. These were the only items Vimal Geethanandan carried on his almost a year-long journey to explore 11 states in India in 2016—six from South India, besides Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland and West Bengal.
The 26-year-old has decided that the comforts of home are not overrated. He converted an MPV into his travelling home, buying it via crowdsourcing after three years of being an itinerant.
He christened the home on wheels 'Maaya', and has fitted the necessary modcons such as a bed, a fully fictional kitchen, toilet and an internet connection.
He is a sort of Jack Reacher without the uppercuts, leading a life every wanderer dreams of—travelling with no plan, no agenda and no money…. “I have been travelling for the last four years with no money. People across India hosted me, gave me love, food and money. Now I want to give back in my own way,” says the TedX speaker, who was approached by the platform after his travel diaries made him famous.
He shares how once a stranger in Chennai gave him a tearful hug and told him that he had saved his life. The man confided that he was suffering from clinical depression and reading about Geethanandan inspired him to leave everything behind and start afresh.
Geethanandan admits he “was always a weird kid, who fell in love with writing and music”. He has written a few songs, dialogues and scripts for short films.
Three weeks ago, he was parked somewhere near a highway in Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh. Now, he is driving past Dhanushkodi near Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. His family hasn’t figured what drove him to the road.
Don’t ask him where he will be next. He doesn’t know. He wishes to travel the world to spread hope about humanity and how his social experiment stands testimony to his determination.
“Check my Instgram stories to see where I am and come join me for a meal,” he smiles.